Questioning Faith

I just decided to add a preface to this post – none of what I have said is meant as a dig at anybody else for how they live their lives or what they believe. It is just how I am, and how I feel and is not meant to cause any offence.

Most of the blogs I read are written by people who have an undeterred faith in God despite the loss of their babies. I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person in the world who questions life and God and religion and faith and everything since Finley died.

I was raised in a household that believed in God, though we weren’t church goers until I was around 12 or 13. We started going frequently and I became quite involved in the church, the youth group and the summer camps. I decided to get baptized at around 14, and I was really quite devout. I guess it never really occurred to me to question whether or not God existed, because I was raised to believe it was fact.

As I got older, life got busy and in the way of my ‘church life’. I became interested in science and had experienced quite a bit of difficulty in my life at a young age. I stopped calling myself religious, but still had ‘faith’ – whatever that may be.

I’ve always had a bit of an unwavering belief that if you are generally a ‘good’ person and if you got an education, made good decision, and did things ‘right’ that life would turn out well. I always did very well in school, kept my options open for university, had a lot of friends, was generous, outgoing, and involved in the community. Once I graduated high school, I went to uni because that was the next step. After a year I realised I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be, so I completed a post-secondary course to become a Medical Office assistant.

I’ve always worked hard. I’ve had a job pretty much continuously since I was 15. I was thriving and happy despite a lot of difficulties in my childhood.

I was always conscious of never getting pregnant before I was married. I had seen how things can be if you have babies when you aren’t ‘ready’ and I wanted to be sure I was in a committed relationship with somebody with similar goals so we could provide a stable upbringing for our children. I wanted to make sure that I could afford to provide for my children both physically and emotionally.

I knew that I had a passion for travel, which is what eventually led me to live in England. There are so many things that I wanted to do before I settled down – I didn’t want to have regrets.

After living and working successfully in another country across the world on my own, I knew that I could take care of myself. I didn’t have any doubt in my ability to thrive in any environment.

When I met my husband, as those who know us will attest, things moved rather quickly. I’m sure some people thought we were foolish, but sometimes you just know when it’s right. When we discovered he was being posted to Italy, for both of us marriage was the only option – we wanted to stay together. I had always been honest with him that I didn’t want to have children before I was married, and so when the wedding was booked and near, we made the decision to stop preventing pregnancy, but also not really trying.

Imagine our surprise when a month later we were newlyweds and I had a positive pregnancy test. It all happened so quickly that there were people joking about if we’d gotten married because I was pregnant. But that was never the case.

I knew we were lucky, because I’ve watched friends struggle with fertility problems. I knew how soul destroying that was. As we passed each milestone and each ultrasound, I really felt like it was all meant to be. I knew we’d be good parents, our child was planned for and would be well provided for. We were both ready to be parents, and we were excited.

Boom. Finley died.

That is literally how it felt. It was as though the wind had been knocked out of me with the suddenness of it all. And it left me questioning everything I’d ever believed.

How could this happen to us when there are people out there who have babies that they don’t take care of? That they don’t want? That they don’t devote enough time to?

How could I keep believing that making good decisions leads to the life that was planned, when you could never plan for your child to die?

How could I believe in a God who allows a mother to carry her baby to full term, to endure the pain of labour and birth, and a csection, only to take that baby away? And not only that, but to allow the mother to nearly die as well, meaning that she’d not get to spend that baby’s only few days on the earth with him. That is not a kind God, or a just God.

How could something so terrible happen to me? To us? Had we done something to deserve it?

And now I’m in a rut. I can’t help questioning everything.

Is there life after death, or once we die is that just it? And if there is no God, then where do we go if not to Heaven? I really am not sure. But then when I start thinking about Finley, the thought that it all just ends is too much. I like to think of his spirit somewhere. I like to imagine his playing with the other babies and children who died. I like to believe that when I die we will be together again.

But then I get scared. What if I’m kidding myself? What if I never get to be with him again? And I am afraid. Afraid to live and afraid to die and afraid of everything in between.

I can see the future that I want for my family – happiness despite our loss. Siblings for Finley. A big, busy, full house. I want a family.

But I am afraid to hope now. I had hope before and look how it turned out. I am afraid that if I let hope in again, even a little bit, that it leaves me vulnerable. If I start to make plans, and find a way to be happy again, then I am susceptible to more pain. And this pain is worse than anything I ever knew possible.

I guess at the moment I am not making plans and going after what I want, I am waiting to see what happens. That has never been the kind of person I have been. Ever. But this fall was too hard. Too big.

How do I get my faith back? Faith in anything? Faith in good? Faith in life? Faith in humanity?

How do those who remain faithful do it? How do you decide what you believe? How do you believe in anything at all when the world is so unpredictable?

I know this post probably makes me sound like a bit of a lunatic but the only things that are getting me through right now is daily routine and friends and family.

8 thoughts on “Questioning Faith

  1. Lisa,

    I totally can relate. The daily routine, friends, and family is so important. I too struggled with what to believe. I’ve never been very religious though I wanted something to believe in. Shortly after Maya was born and died, I picked up ‘When Bad Things Happen to Good People’ by Harold Kushner. A nurse at the hospital had recommended it. It really helped me understand the difference between religion and spirituality and decide that while I may not be religious, I can be spiritual. It also helped me understand humanity and how to direct my anger. I gained a lot of clarity on life, love, and faith in general.

    You did not sound like a lunatic in this post. I completely understand where you are coming from.

    Lots of love,

  2. You aren’t alone. I have had the same feelings since my boys died. I’m a teacher at a church school! I’ve always tried my best to do things right. I’ve done tons of voluntary work, waited til I was married until we tried etc. I know that none of this entitles me to anything and I don’t begrudge others who have healthy happy babies.

    But as I was lying in the back of the amubulance being rushed to a neonatal unit at 24 weeks I prayed and prayed that it would all be ok and I still had to watch my boys die after a week in NICU.

    I know I can’t bargain with God but it all seems so unfair. Especially when I see 16 year olds pushing their babies around in buggies while smoking and swearing!

    You don’t sound like a lunatic to me.. you sound totally normal!
    Lots of love,

  3. Anonymous

    You don’t sound like a lunatic x so sorry for your loss x It’s not fair that you and others like you who would be great parents loose their children or can’t have them when some people don’t give a Damn about theirs x I don’t think ur baby is in a better place because the best place would be with you x but I believe he is in a good place and you will be with him again one day xxx

  4. You are not crazy AT ALL. I have felt very similar things as you when my son Everett was stillborn at 37 weeks.

    It is really unsettling to believe that MY God, who LOVES me allowed my child to die and allowed all that pain into my soul (and allows any and ALL pain that children go through in this world, horrific).

    Three years later, I am in a better place. Healing comes. Trust comes again but in a different way – it allows us to see that the only important thing in this world is not what we can control or have – it is loving God – no matter what.

    My head told me that He still loved me, but MAN, my heart still aches every now and then for my soul to have peace.

    I don’t think I’ll ever be the same, but I have definitely found joy and trust again in my heavenly father.

    I really struggle with bitterness and lack of Joy. I read the book One Thousand Gifts and it really put things in perspective.


  5. I have grappled with these same thoughts and feelings after the loss of our daughter Hudson. It’s been particularly heart breaking because I watched my husband pray so fervently, my husband who isn’t remotely religious came before God so humbly and asked for a miracle we didn’t receive. But somehow losing our daughter has made me believe in God MORE, because of the way God has been shown to us through other people… And because I truly believe this can’t be all we get.

    I think of you and your story often and am so heartbroken for you that you didn’t get to enjoy Finley more in this life.

  6. I recently helped and supported a family who lost a baby who was born with Edward’s syndrome. I myself am an atheist, but they are devout Christians. They explained to me that it was not God who had caused the loss of their child, it was Satan. They called upon the story of Job as a reference. I thought I’d share this with you as it may help you find your peace with your God.

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  8. Thank you for writing this. I wrote about my feelings towards this God I believe in on my own blog too…

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